Food Education as a Regional Development Policy for All-With Implications from Community Development in Japan and Thailand

By Kurokawa, Kiyoto | Australasian Journal of Regional Studies, January 2010 | Go to article overview

Food Education as a Regional Development Policy for All-With Implications from Community Development in Japan and Thailand


Kurokawa, Kiyoto, Australasian Journal of Regional Studies


1. INTRODUCTION

Healthcare and economic development has a strong linkage. Disease and disability lead to both people's pain and huge financial burden. In developing countries, there are urgent needs to reduce poverty by revitalizing regional economy.

In this paper, we have examined whether food education for regional community will be an effective solutions for regional development or not. To answer this question, we firstly discuss the background of food education for all to create sound regional development by adding values into food related products. Secondly, we investigate the effectiveness of the educational spending by using regional input-output table in Oita prefecture, Japan. This is to understand the effectiveness of the policy shift from infrastructure construction to human resource development in Oita prefecture. The rural development policy called 'One Village One Product' (OVOP) movement, which was originated in Oita prefecture in 1979. Thirdly, we have revealed the most important characteristics; global thinking, creativity and human resource development. The local government facilitated community study groups. It provides an important model of success in regional development policy. As part of the Aid for Trade initiative at WTO Hong Kong Ministerial Conference in 2006, Japanese government initiated the OVOP Campaign. Many developing countries introduced this rural revitalization policy. And the movement became an international movement.

Finally, we will investigate Thai OVOP. They have upgraded the OVOP movement into Thai original "One Tambon One Product (OTOP) movement". We have identified three characteristics of the movement. Firstly, the movement is a government policy not an endogenous movement. Secondly, the OTOP is widely accepted by the products championship system with five star grading. This brought a new OTOP brand. Thirdly, OTOP movement is strongly assisted by Information and Communication Technology including web site based marketing.

We have revealed the importance of food related industries in this OTOP movement. They have identified six-targeted category such as Food, Beverage, Textile & Fashion, Accessories & Home decoration, Gifts & Arts, Herbs & Spa. And about half of the five-star products were food related products. And by using five-star OTOP logo, they have produced new OTOP brand markets, which is quite useful to promote local food products. In 2008, The Yokohama Action Plan was designed to provide a road map for the support of African growth and development under the TICAD (Tokyo International Conference on African Development) process. The Government of Japan has taken the initiative to show its strong commitment by announcing doubling ODA to Africa by 2012. (TICAD Yokohama Action Plan, 2008) That is the policy background of why we have to investigate the new rural development mechanism; food education.

2. WHAT IS FOOD EDUCATION

2.1 Today's food education -Background of food education

Today's food education in Japan is a little bit different from traditional food education. In Japan, many reports on the eating habits of youth indicate that they have an unbalanced diet; they prefer western food and dislike vegetables. In developing countries, we can observe same tendency. Past studies have indicated that demand for many foods--especially, meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products--are responsive to income growth.

After the implementation of the Fundamental Law on Nutrition Education in 2005, specific items for "instruction in nutrition" were incorporated in school education; this was the beginning of health and nutrition education in schools.

The objective of the Fundamental law is to stabilize and improve people's lifestyle and to develop the national economy through comprehensively and systematically implementing policies on food, agriculture and rural areas by means of establishing basic principles and basic matters for realizing them and clarifying the responsibilities of the state and local governments. …

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